31 Mar 2014

NZ deaths warning ignored - official

7:18 pm on 31 March 2014

A senior public servant has told Australia's Royal Commission into the Home Insulation scheme that warnings from New Zealand - where three insulation installers died - were discounted.

The New Zealand men died after stapling through foil installation and hitting live wires which electrified the foil.

The inquiry in Brisbane is examining whether the former Labor Government and its staff failed to heed safety warnings before four Australian workers died on the job in 2009 and 2010, including two installing foil insulation, the ABC reports.

Federal Environment Department assistant secretary Kevin Keeffe said warnings from New Zealand, where three installers died, were discounted because their scheme was different.

Mr Keeffe said he was aware of the New Zealand experience, but believed it was fundamentally different from the Australian plan as it involved unsupervised, untrained, DIY installers, fitting foil under the floor rather than in ceilings.